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Activists may protest show by 'fascist' band

by: COURTESY OF DEATH IN JUNE - A Portland group plans to protest the May 19 show of Death in June, a band some consider to be 'fascist.'Anti-fascist activists in Portland are planning to protest an upcoming show by Death in June, an English neo-folk group accused of having neo-Nazi sympathies.

"Let's show DIJ they are not welcome in the Pacific NW!" according to a statement posted at rosecityantifa.weebly.com by the group Rose City Antifascists or Rose City Antifa. "Join us in throwing full opposition into each stop on this tour."

The Tribune's attempts to contact the activist group via phone and email were unsuccessful.

The Tribune also attempted to contact "Marie Equi," host of the Facebook page "ACTION ALERT: SHUT DOWN DEATH IN JUNE IN PORTLAND!!!" for comment but was unsuccessful. (Readers should note Marie Equi is the name of a Portland anarchist who died in 1952.)

Led by English musician Douglas Pearce, or Douglas P, DIJ is booked to play the Alhambra Theatre, 4811 S.E. Hawthorne Ave., at 9 p.m. Monday, May 19.

DIJ's defenders note the band has long used provocative imagery and lyrics to promote its goth-flavored music and that the band's opponents basically miss the point.

Meanwhile, the venue that booked DIJ aggressively denies the group is a neo-Nazi band and believes its opponents are misguided.

"The last thing we want to be associated with are Nazis," says Dyami Clement, Alhambra's general manager.

The controversial band's booking provoked considerable discussion among staff members, Clement adds. It's clear from sources that Pearce is coy about his political sympathies and at times has acted in a manner that could lead to music fans concluding he leans far right in his politics, although he reportedly started his music career as a left-wing anti-racist.

"We did a lot of research, and we finally came to the conclusion that the symbolism (Pearce) uses is purely artistic, and that he is not a Nazi," Clement says.

The Tribune wanted to interview Pearce, but DIJ's Web site notes the band is not answering email queries and can only contacted by regular mail to Great Britain.

Clement notes that Pearce is openly gay, has worked with Jewish musicians and that Jewish promoters in other U.S. clubs told him they had no problems with DIJ. Clement also referenced such Pearce songs as "Rose Clouds of Holocaust," which laments the genocide as evidence Pearce is not a fascist.

"Your true neo-Nazi is working to suppress what happened in the Holocaust and not bring it to light," Clement says.

Clement says that he was raised by a gay mother whom a gang of neo-Nazis almost murdered when she was pregnant. "Bigotry or discrimination for any reason upsets me more than almost anything in the world," Clement says.

Prior to the show, the Alhambra received an email threatening violence, he adds, from goldmancecelia.com. According to the email: "we (sic) are planning to disrupt this show if if goes on by any means necessary, which will most likely result in violence and property damage."

Clement says that the theater has also received a number of phone calls during the past few weeks, in which callers don't answer when staff pick up the phone.

The general manager says the club is prepared for protests. He notes it will employ extra security the night of the show and has contacted Portland police to alert them of their concerns.